I’ll have the usual. (food, week of 8.26.13)

game time, august 2013

I realized this week that the challenge of devising new and different ways to assemble the same daily routine (family dinner) is precisely what I do every day in my day job, devising new and different ways to deliver exactly the same proposition (give blood: it saves lives).  To make the same old thing a new puzzle each day, to keep it fresh, is no small challenge.  But as a wise mentor once advise me, it’s only hard if you want to do it right; if it’s too hard, then you’re trying to do it too right. 

While I was rifling through recipe cards and books this week to prepare our weekly food plan, my husband said, “do you think we could just have meatloaf one night?” 

Sometimes the usual, ordinary option really is the most comforting and appropriate,  In the flurry of new and different, it’s a familiar friend.  At home, with a 6:45 a.m. school arrival time and 8:00 p.m. end to football practice, it’s just what the doctor ordered, at least for one night.

Happy week.

jennyslark food plan august 26


Week of August 26| 2013


Roasted Chicken, your usual way

There are at least 100 ways to prepare and serve roasted whole chicken, but my two favorites are Ina Garten’s recipe and buying one already prepared (I like the ones from Whole Foods). Once you have the chicken, there are at least 100 more ways to serve it: carved, with rice and peas; chopped on top of a salad; shredded in tacos; pulled and mixed into chicken salad.  This last version is what we’ll have this week: mayo, Dijon mustard, red onion, dried cranberries, celery, and salt.

tomato harvest 

 Summer Garden Linguini

Prepare linguini according to package.  While it’s cooking, roast some cherry tomatoes, tossed in olive oil and salt, until they pop.  Put them in a bowl and toss with chopped fresh basil, some lemon juice, olive oil and salt.  Drain linguini and stir in sauce (or spoon on top).

daily fare


Bernard is the meatloaf cooker in our family, and he’s tried dozens of recipes, all of which tasted good to me.  This one was his most recent version, and we all thought it was good.  He did put ketchup on it, of course, and he didn’t add the prunes.

summer market

Provençal Chicken Stew (slow cooker)

Shake chicken pieces in a bag with flour and salt (I will use skinless, boneless chicken thighs, but any chicken pieces will do).  Brown the chicken in butter (heavy skillet) and transfer to slow cooker.  Add some olive oil to skillet and sauté chopped onion and garlic until softened and beginning to brown; deglaze with wine, let the alcohol cook off, and pour on top of chicken.  Add 1 large can crushed tomatoes, bay leaves and seasoning (I use Herbes de Provence).  Cook on low 8 hours.  Serve with crusty bread and green salad.  Garnish stew with fresh parsley and basil.

 melon patch

 Melon and Prosciutto Risotto

This recipe is a new one, and it may be perfectly awful.  I can’t resist trying it, however, because it just sounds interesting and because I’ve almost never had a bad experience with a recipe from Bon Appétit.  If you try it, too, let me know what you think.  I will be using chicken stock and not vegetable broth, for the record.  My back up plan will be to roast extra prosciutto and make prosciutto, lettuce and tomato sandwiches.    Or peanut butter.




all text and images copyright 2013, jennifer balink